#MeetFinTrU: Stuart Marks talks about his career and professional journey back to Northern Ireland from London
MONDAY 23 DECEMBER 2019
As part of our #MeetFinTrU feature, we are sharing the stories of our employees who have made the move from London back to Northern Ireland to pursue a career at FinTrU.
Meet Stuart Marks, Executive Director and Head of Business Development at FinTrU.
My role involves identifying new business opportunities, developing relationships with existing and prospective clients, researching new markets and emerging trends. I also sit on FinTrU’s Operating Committee, working with the other Executive Directors and Managing Directors in the company to help grow and run the business.
What was your background before joining FinTrU?
My background has predominantly been in legal. I graduated in Law from Queen’s University Belfast but didn’t fancy going down the private practice route – I quickly realised it wasn’t going to be like Suits and I certainly wasn’t going to be Harvey Specter. Instead I got a job at Citi in Belfast working in the legal negotiation team. I then moved to London to work for Goldman Sachs in their legal department.
After spending a couple of years there I moved internally to their Counterparty Risk team. This role was really interesting and I learnt a lot – it involved a lot of analysis around the impact of current affairs, such as the Greek debt crisis and Brexit. Whilst in London I spent a lot of time meeting with clients and understanding how better Goldman could assist them. So I guess my background is a bit of a hybrid of legal, risk and sales.
Why did you decide to join FinTrU?
Whilst working in a massive investment bank was a lot of fun and helped me develop and progress my professional career, I wanted to work somewhere where I could have a real, tangible impact. I met with Darragh whilst I was still working in London and the passion he had for FinTrU and the sheer drive to grow the company was infectious. We chatted through the role I could play at FinTrU and the impact I could have, and I was very quickly sold. A couple of months later I touched down back in Belfast ready for the big adventure.
What do you enjoy most about working at FinTrU?
There is so much to enjoy about working at FinTrU, such as the culture, the talented people, the dynamism, but if I had to single one thing out I think it would have to be the entrepreneurial attitude and mentality that resonates throughout the company.
At FinTrU we talk about everyone being their own business owner and having the ability to grow their own business areas. Whether you are a junior analyst or a senior managing director, each person can have a major part to play in the growth of the company. I think it’s that ability to get involved in growing the business that adds a real exciting aspect to people’s day jobs.
What advice would you give to someone considering making the move back to Northern Ireland from London?
My advice would be that if you’re seriously considering making the move back, do it. When I was thinking about moving home I was concerned that I wouldn’t find challenging work, or that my career would stagnate. Over three years later and I have to say that the work has been incredibly challenging, in a good way, and pushed me out of my comfort zone.
My career has also progressed on a trajectory that has surpassed my expectations. It’s also easy to forget what a great country this is, and how much it offers – where else can you climb a mountain, go for a surf and have some incredible food all in the same day!?
How do you see the next 12 months for FinTrU?
The last few years at FinTrU have been great and we’ve seen incredible growth, but I really believe that 2020 is going to be our biggest year yet. The company has some really exciting plans for the year ahead, as we continue to grow in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry, and as we move towards tapping into new products, regions and markets. I don’t think there’s been a better time to join FinTrU, so get involved!